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Herbal Treatments for Athlete's Foot – A number of herbs can be beneficial

Sandra Ketcham

Athlete’s foot, also known as Tinea pedis, is a fungal infection of the skin. Fungus grows best in dark and damp conditions, and sweaty feet trapped inside shoes for long periods of time are prime candidates for the development of fungal infections. Symptoms of athlete’s foot vary, but generally include peeling, cracking, redness, itching, and burning. Athlete’s foot may spread to other areas of the body, such as the groin or underarms, if left untreated for any length of time.

A number of other medical conditions can mimic the symptoms of a fungal infection, such as eczema, psoriasis, allergic reactions to dyes or other chemicals in shoes and socks, and bacterial infections of the skin. If you are unsure of the cause of your symptoms, or if your symptoms fail to respond to treatment, these conditions must be ruled out by a podiatrist.

The first step in treating your athlete’s foot should be to take off your shoes and leave them off as long as possible. If you must wear shoes, make certain to keep your socks clean and dry to prevent the infection from returning or becoming worse during treatment. A number of herbs can be very beneficial in treating the infection as well, and some of those herbs are listed below:

Garlic: Scientific studies have shown garlic to be a very effective treatment for athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. Soaking the infected foot in a tub of warm water containing several cloves of garlic generally relieves itching and burning. Garlic can also be steeped in olive oil and applied directly to the area of infection once or twice daily.

Ginger: Ginger contains the compound caprylic acid, which has potent antifungal properties. Simmer about an ounce of ginger root in a cup of boiling water and then apply it directly to the affected area of the foot at least twice a day.

Licorice: Chinese practitioners have been using licorice to treat fungal infections, most notably ringworm, for a very long time. This is because licorice contains the greatest number of antifungal compounds of any of the herbs. You can either add some licorice to your garlic footbath, or boil six to seven teaspoons of dried licorice and apply it directly to the affected area.

Teatree Oil: Tea tree oil is a very powerful antiseptic and can be diluted with a base oil and applied directly to the skin of the foot three times a day. It is important to remember, however, that Teatree oil can be fatal if ingested. Please use caution when using this essential oil.

Camomile Oil: Camomile can be very helpful and soothing when used to treat athlete’s foot, and can be used alone or in combination with Teatree oil. Many people are allergic to chamomile, so test a small drop of the oil on the skin of your arm before rubbing it all over your infected foot.

Lemongrass: Lemongrass is an excellent herb for treating fungal infections, and drinking lemongrass tea makes a nice medicinal addition to the remedies listed above. Enjoy a cup of lemongrass tree three or four times a day, or apply the tea bags directly to the affected areas of your foot.

Other teas with antifungal properties: Many other herbs containing antifungal properties can be brewed into teas and consumed for added relief from the symptoms of your athlete’s foot. Some of these herbs are cinnamon, peppermint, orange, basil, red clover, spearmint, thyme, dill, and fennel.

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